Nike appoints SNKRS VP to head up new Virtual Studios division
Nike has appointed its SNKRS Vice President, Ron Faris, to lead the company's new division, Nike Virtual Studios.
Faris will continue to lead the SNKRS team whilst serving as the Vice President and General Manager of the new division until his old role is filled, according an internal email by Nike CEO John Donahoe.
Nike has undergone a big cultural shift since Donahoe succeeded Mark Parker as CEO in 2020. In his first two years at the helm, the American businessman has led sweeping changes to make the company digital-first.
In the internal email, Donahoe announced the creation of the new division, which focuses on establishing the sports giant in the virtual world.
According to Complex, he wrote: "We have created Nike Virtual Studios, a new division that will operate as an independent studio to build our business around virtual products while also partnering with our core business to deliver best-in-class Web3, Metaverse, and blockchain-based experiences. Nike Virtual Studios will have creative hubs in both Los Angeles and New York to serve and grow the creative community in these key cities."
"I’m excited about Ron’s leadership in this role. Given his proven success innovating and scaling our SNKRS business alongside many cross-functional partners and geographies, and his commitment to our diverse community of Nike athletes."
Faris joined Nike in 2016, when the company acquired his startup, Virgin Mega at Virgin Group. Under his leadership, Faris has helped to develop the much maligned Nike SNKRS app, which offers exclusive trainers and product releases.
The announcement marks Nike's latest investment in the metaverse since its acquisition of NFT studio RTFTK in December last year. The company also partnered with Roblox to launch an online world and has created a handful of job listings relating to the metaverse.